Fast – Day Eight

I did something a little different last night. I had a light dinner, then went to bed SUPER-early (around 6:30). I was exhausted from not sleeping well the night before and was worried if I forced a workout, I would struggle to sleep again. I probably fell asleep around 7:30. I woke up at 8:30PM and 9:45PM. Then again around 1 AM when it was starting to thunderstorm. But otherwise, slept the whole night and feel great today! I made this a priority because I know lack of sleep makes cortisol go up, and cortisol going up stalls weight loss, even when you’re fasting. I suspect cortisol had a lot to do with my original weight gain, and a lot of my resistance at the start of the five years. I think me not realizing this, and giving up trying for several bursts probably contributed to weight gain, and further created/exaggerated the insulin-related changes. There’s definitely a difference in how I feel now as to how I felt five years ago. And how I look and what I weigh, obviously. So I think not understanding how lack of sleep and too much stress impacts you created the start of the spiral I’m in now. So if I have the opportunity to sleep more, I take it!

I was up .8 from yesterday. I think sleeping generally causes weight loss for me. But since it was an eating day, it probably limited how much weight I put back on. I’m sitting at exactly 5 pounds down, and am pleased about that.

I was supposed to workout last night, and did make myself workout this morning. I hate morning workouts. I feel all uncoordinated and weak. I did 20 minutes of a 30 minute workout, and decided it was better than nothing, and quit. So 20 minutes more than an average day, I guess! Because I had a light dinner last night and because I worked out this morning, I decided to go ahead and have breakfast today, then I’ll fast until lunch tomorrow. Eat only lunch, then fast again until dinner on Sunday. Then fast again until breakfast on Tuesday.

I will say, my fasting days I’m a lot less weak than when I started, so I might be able to workout without eating before OR after. I’m hopeful to start that next week. It would actually be a good thing to start working in on my fast days since I have that extra time after work. I have just been so conditioned to eat protein after lifting or it’s a waste of time, that I have to tell myself to just try it and see what happens. If I get ravenously hungry, I’ll try something else. But maybe it’ll work for me. The first time I lost weight, I did it with a combination of cardio and weights. I didn’t time my meals or make sure to get any extra protein. I just ate regular meals. I did try to get 20g of protein at MOST meals, but did that more to stay full than because I thought it impacted whether I gained muscle or not. That’s the strongest and leanest I’ve ever been. I realize there’s a lot of science behind body building. But at this point, it’s not like I need to be super-strong. I want to gain strength, but mostly need to lose weight and MAINTAIN muscle. And maybe I can do that with fasting. And if I workout on the evening of a fast day, as long as it’s not making me so hungry I can’t sleep, I’ll get protein at breakfast the following day. I used to do plenty of post-dinner workouts back in the day, and not eat until breakfast. Why would this be any different?

I think much like yesterday when I was perusing a variety of fasting threads on weight loss/diet/lifestyle boards, I realized people are thinking about the details a lot more than I am. Worrying too much about being exact with time, precise with calories, etc. The first time I lost weight, I kept track of calories with a hand-held book, tracked in a written notebook. I did start weighing food at this time, but I also ate out plenty and considered it “close enough” to find a sorta-alternative to track. I did workouts when I could. Skipped them when I was too sore or had other plans. And I was very successful. I think comparison is a lifestyle killer. My intention when I started this plan was to fast more often. According to Dr. Jason Fung, fast when you can, with what works for you. Longer fasts work better, but find an approach you can stick to. And that feels a lot more doable/freeing than worrying about exactness of a specific diet program, especially if a book was written about it, and money is there to be made.

I also know many people who do the 5:2 fast (5 days eating, 2 fasting) or alternate day fasting eat 500 calories on fast days. For me, it’s easier to just not eat at all. I might have a small meal if I’m super-hungry. But, mostly, I use that knowledge to allow myself to have a taste test of something I’m cooking on a fast day without feeling like I just screwed everything up. Also, on days like today where I wanted to workout but was worried about being ravenous at work, I decided to go ahead and eat breakfast rather than making things far worse, especially since I ate pretty light yesterday.

I think bodies are far more adaptive than that. I DO think there are scenarios where your body holds onto weight or won’t gain weight despite logic. For me, the losing weight is a thing. People don’t believe me. But, you know what? It’s because it was doing other fantastic things in the background – dealing with food allergies. Or insulin resistance without getting diabetes! I’m frustrated I can’t lose weight, but am thankful my body’s processed a ton of stress and sleep deprivation and not turned it into cancer or heart disease. And I think my body might need a little TLC to get the weight to drop off, but I’ve never truly lost hope that eventually it will happen. Even if fasting isn’t the answer, I can guarantee I’ll keep trying. Even if I have to stop fasting and find another way, and during that time I appear to be doing no particular thing. I know I’ll always keep trying. We only get one body, and I truly do want to take care of mine!

The biggest plus of eating breakfast today is I blew through lunch without much thought. Once I get into this, I might start to tinker around with having a two meal day, and somehow working that into my plan but still maintaining the 24+ hour fasts. For example, maybe on Monday, I’d do breakfast and dinner. On Tuesday, I’d do just dinner. Wednesday a full fast. Thursday breakfast and dinner. Friday a full fast, etc. Changing it up a little bit, based on how my appetite does. Still aiming for some 24-36 hour fasts. But also giving myself some options of going on an off based on workouts, social activities, hunger, energy, etc. I feel like I’ll end up eating less overall that way. Right now eating a full day after a full 36 hours of fasting seems like I’m barely eating a former day’s worth of food. And that’s good! But just for the purpose of variety and not getting stuck in a “this is what I have to do” rut or cycle where I don’t workout as much as I’d like, miss social gatherings, etc. Even skipping lunch today would result in a deficit. And also shows that my blood sugar is doing better. As long as I keep losing, what I do to get there should be as flexible as possible.

Additionally, I decided to spend the $11 and bought The Obesity Epidemic. The real motivator of my fasting, and will work on reading it this weekend to see if I take away anything additional or it adjusts my approach. My goal is to lose weight permanently. I know that’s everyone’s goal. But the way I understand it, his approach means fasting, plus limiting carbs, plus increasing fiber intake, plus being mindful about sleep and stress reduction. These are all things I’ve tried to do over the past five years, and hopefully all can come together now and result in success in the short AND long-term!

Weight: Down 5 pounds

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